Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Joan Crawford, 1932

The Benefits of Gentrification

This Austin American-Statesman article today on "gentrification" decries the alleged "loss of children in favor of dogs" between E. 7th and E. 11th streets... In fact: Until recent gentrification, the area of Austin between E. 7th and E. 11th was a complete crime- and drug-ridden hell hole, unfit for either children OR dogs. Be GLAD for gentrification.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Pool Psychology

My first pool visit of the season.

Last year, nearly no one was there from 11am to 1pm. Every time I came out, I had the pool to myself.

This time, for my 2018 debut at 11:15am on May 28: A couple were there already. They had some some sort of modern-day "disc" that the girl was throwing for the guy to dive and catch. And they were overtly whooping-and-hollering about it.

When I appeared, I immediately took over the left side of the pool for my breast-strokes and backwards-kickoffs.

It's awkward with a small pool. Those two kept throwing the disc for a bit, and then my overt presence got a bit awkward. (At one point, I jumped into the pool and my waves shot the disc directly into the drainage hole --- I pretended I didn't notice while the guy went over and scooped the disc out of the hole).

Finally, the guy sent the girl back to his/their apartment for beers in coozies. After the girl returned with the beers, they then sat pool-side and didn't move much. I had on dark glasses, so could watch without being observed: The overweight girl was very subservient and gentle and loving: I was 10 ft away from them, and she was always making eye-contact and smiling and congratulating him for something.

I outlasted them.

I watched as they walked out: The fat chick opened the gate for the guy and then walked a step behind him on their sidewalk home. (Note: The only time I've ever seen a woman open any door for any man is if she's fat.)

1955 Elvis Presley - Trying To Get To You

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Get Happy?

As a gay person, I've been told for the past 30 years that I should love Judy Garland much more than I do. In truth, I don't like her very much at all. Her life story is shitty; I've never read an interesting word out of her mouth; I hate the "look at me trying so hard/LOVE ME" schtick. (She's technically a very good singer, but then so are Barbra Streisand and Mariah Carey --- they also bore me.)

Trying to get over my Judy-anemia, I recently ordered the "Get Happy" bio by Gerald Clarke, whose bio of Capote I really liked, and then the Carnegie Hall album (said by all online to be a classic) plus a 4-CD set. The book, I got a couple of weeks ago and read in a day: At the end of it, I didn't care one whit for Judy Garland! I didn't feel a thing for her. Other than my usual, since learning of her in my teens: "What a sloppy, depressing mess." The CDs haven't arrived yet ---maybe Carnegie Hall will lead to my Great Awakening...

I clean up real nice.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Unwanted

Oh, let's see... I haven't spent the past two Christmases with family (mother, brother/wife/2 nephews), all of whom live in the same town as I do.

Christmas Eve 2016: I arrived at my mother's house. Her first question to me when I walked in her home: "Where's your car?" I'd parked down the street, so I said, "Down the street." She then repeated: "Where's your car? Where's your car? Where's your car?" I then repeated: "I parked DOWN THE STREET." She then repeated: "Where's your car?"

At that point, I dropped my bags full of Christmas gifts in her living room and walked out the door, telling her, "I can't take this bullshit any more."

That was the end of my Christmas 2016. The Eve was planned for my mother's house; the Day the next day was supposed to be at my brother's. He didn't call to ask what had happened and why I wasn't there (didn't expect him to).

I didn't speak to any of them until April 2017, when I moved into a new apartment, and invited my mother over for Mother's Day in May. I asked her then what had happened to all of the Christmas presents that I left back in December... Oh, they were all still sitting in a bag in her living room.

Later in May 2017 was my nephew's birthday. My mother brought my still-sitting-around Christmas bag of presents to our lunch for my nephew. We quickly opened the presents IN THE PARKING LOT of the restaurant.

In August 2017, my mother called and let me know that she was seeing a lawyer the next day re her will. Five years earlier, it had been me and my brother splitting her legacy 50/50. Three years earlier, she had told me that I would get one-third, my brother would get one-third, and the two nephews would split the other one-third. In August 2017, turned out I was to get her house --- but 50% of that would be co-owned with my brother! And the whole inheritance would be split 25% apiece with me/brother/nephew 1/nephew 2.

No way. The one thing I needed in this world was a home. (I'm doing OK otherwise, just cannot afford a home.) And like hell I'm going to live in a home that my brother has any control over. And like hell I think some tweens should be in control of hundreds of thousands of dollars when I myself have worked my ass off throughout my life (currently having $501 subtracted from my paycheck every month to pay off my student loan that my parents didn't bother saving up for or paying for).

I haven't spoken to her since.

Thanksgiving, Christmas 2017 = spent alone, of course.

2018: My older nephew just turned 16 over the last weekend. I sent a birthday card, with a $50 gift card. I was on-hand in the hospital in 2002 when this kid was born. I've been around him ever since. I mailed the card last Thursday, heard nothing all weekend. (Was kind of hoping for an invite to celebrate.) Monday, I e-mailed my brother at his work: "Did you get my birthday card and gift cards?" Answer on Tuesday: "Yes, thanks."

Wow. I had to fish for ANY response. (I was hoping that someone would say "thank you" before I had to ask --- does the 16-year-old know about manners? Why didn't his parents teach him?)

The younger nephew's 13th birthday is coming up in July. I'll send a card and present to him then. And that's the end of any family connection at all, I guess. It's very sad. I'm being forced into Nothing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

In Cold Blood

Finished re-reading Capote's 1965 "In Cold Blood" last night. I remember the first read was as a tween living out in the country (an RFD address 40 miles to the west of Fort Worth) in the mid '70s, a book from my parents' bookshelf. Unlike last night, when I finished the book and had the anodyne of TV and 10-ft-away neighbors to assuage the disturbance, the first read was especially scary. As a 12- or 13-year-old, I didn't yet fully understand the history of Perry Smith's psyche, but what I did understand was: I'm out in the country as that family was. I've put the book down now, and now I am alone in the dead of night listening to whatever sticks crackle outside my window...

Last night, at exactly 9:35pm, I was onto the last 50 pages or so, and then: BANG-BANG-BANG! on my apartment door. I was on edge anyway because of the subject matter, plus no one now comes to my door after dark... I leapt up and yelled out in my toughest voice, "WHO IS IT?" Turned out to be a DoorDash food delivery guy, meant for the complex next door. (That alter-ego chick, "Monica," has quite the after-hours life: I've had 3 errant deliveries for her, plus one police call, in the past 4 months.)

The Mader family bought the Clutter family house in 1990. Here are links (1) to a 2005 article page that includes photos of the house today and (2) to an interview with Donna Mader when the Maders were trying unsuccessfully to sell the house:

From the second link:

Three of the four upstairs bedrooms Herb Clutter designed for his family still remain as bedrooms. All but the biggest,
which was Kenyon Clutter's, bear a distinctly feminine touch. The smallest, formerly Nancy Clutter's, has been converted into a computer room.

"We used to have a bed in there, but the kids won't sleep in there," Donna says.

A practical woman, she is more interested in cabinet space than who used to sleep where. She can't help but wonder why, when the killers shut them in the bathroom, the Clutters didn't block the door with the cupboard drawers.

With the drawers pulled out, Donna says as she demonstrates, the killers couldn't have re-entered the bathroom, and the Clutters might have escaped through a window.


Top: Herb and Bonnie Clutter. Bottom: Nancy and Kenyon Clutter.

Donna Mader's latter-day, highly insouciant theory --- that a mere pulled-out-drawer in the bathroom could have saved the family --- is chilling for several reasons. (1) It's true. (2) Herb Clutter didn't think of such a simple thing at the time because he had no concept that his family was in danger of being murdered. It was a robbery, that was all. Don't make the intruders mad. (3) Donna Mader didn't put herself in the Clutters' place; her assumption that they could/should have saved themselves is an utterly dumb, but commonplace, fallacy. When we hear of bad things happening to innocent people, we almost always try to figure out what the VICTIMS (!) did wrong. It's too frightening to think that perhaps there is indeed an utter randomness to the universe --- that Evil (Chaos) strikes at will, and that there's no way in hell we can be prepared for it, unless we want to live a completely paranoid existence.

A p.s.: In October of 1977, my father, after coming home drunk from bar-hopping in his suede going-out jacket and gold chain, demanded that my mother have sex with him. When she refused, he grabbed her, and I was sent to my room. I waited a minute and then peered out of my room down the hall: My mother had pulled the gold chain from his neck and was kneeling at his feet on the carpet. My father then went for his gun, kept at the top of the hall closet, and my mother ran. I closed my door. I heard a gun-shot, then silence. After about a half-hour, I snuck out of my room into the dark house... My father was by then snoring in my parents' bedroom; I did not see my mother anywhere in the house. I peered out the back door, then opened the door to the garage: there my mother was, huddling. I told her that Daddy was asleep, she motioned me back into the house...

Point of the story? Anybody could have been murdered that night. My mother could have been shot, my father could have then shot me and/or himself. (My 6-year-old brother, long asleep at the time and a favorite of both my parents, was probably exempt.)

I was very lucky that I wasn't murdered that night. At that moment, I was thinking like Herb Clutter: "This type of thing doesn't happen." Later, I learned that it could have very well happened. It happens all the time.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Who wants a roommate post-50??

Later this month, I might be letting someone into my home who doesn't like me. Why?

Companionship? But, really, I actually do like being alone A LOT. I like to read, to think, to work on my Joan Crawford website for hours at a time, to lie around channel-surfing. BY MYSELF.

I like going to sleep on my couch when I get home from work, OR... staying up 'til all hours. Now that I have a place without connecting walls, I like playing my music loud when I want to. And then there's the basic roommate stuff: I don't want to have to worry about walking around naked in the morning as I'm getting ready for work, or about results of being uncommunicative. I don't want someone drinking the last of my milk or coming home late and waking me up.

I offered my place to be nice. She and I were at loose ends together 10 years ago. Since then, I've settled down; she's still at loose ends. I want to help someone I care about who's in need, but I also don't want any of that constant chaos back in my life.

I also don't look forward to rearranging my closets, but that's just shallow.

RE: "She doesn't like me." I think she likes me OK, but she's primarily concerned with not being out on the street, and no one else will take her. I was once in love with her, so there's that nostalgia. Plus I'm kind of bored with my life right now and wonder if this will be something interesting, a problem to solve.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

A plebe in furs (1932)

I recently posted this picture of Joan Crawford on the Crawford Facebook page. One reader responded: "Simply classy." My reaction was the opposite: "Simply sassy. Joan was kind of a punk in this picture. No real 'lady' poses like that. But she gives us plebes a real thrill."

I miss a creative project.

The Joan website used to be "The Project." But now, I can knock off Joan stuff in 3 or so hours a night every other night. After 14 years, it's important to me, but rarely a source of blinding, profound insight.

I've got 20 pages of a second screenplay written. I've read that screenplays should be about 120 pages. After all of the thinking about this one, it feels like 100 pages instead of 20. I keep adding a scene or two, and it remains 20 pages in reality!

Anyway, I need some intellectual challenge. I'm stagnant as hell, thinking that this by-rote job-going will be the rest of my life. I'm happy for the income, and the job itself is actually interesting, but... really, that's it??

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Paul McCartney: Winter Rose / Love Awake (1979)

Paul McCartney: After the Ball / Million Miles (1979)

Paul McCartney: Too many people preaching practices (1971)

"Too Many People"

Too many people going underground,
Too many reaching for a piece of cake.
Too many people pulled and pushed around,
Too many waiting for that lucky break.

That was your first mistake,
You took your lucky break and broke it in two.
Now what can be done for you?
You broke it in two.

Too many people sharing party lines,
Too many people never sleeping late.
Too many people paying parking fines,
Too many hungry people losing weight.

That was your first mistake,
You took your lucky break and broke it in two.
Now what can be done for you?
You broke it in two.



Too many people preaching practices,
Don't let 'em tell you what you wanna be.
Too many people holding back,
This is crazy, and baby, it's not like me.

That was your last mistake,
I find my love awake and waiting to be.
Now what can be done for you?
She's waiting for me

Friday, May 04, 2018

Senility Onset

The other day I woke up after a nap on the couch, saw something on TV, and was unable to form an opinion about what I saw.

Whether the person on the screen was bright or an idiot, what his surroundings were, nothing.

My brain was frozen, stuck. I saw a 30-something male on the TV screen, but I couldn't think anything about him or the program -- nothing.

I realized: This is what it's going to be like when I'm old and senile: I'm going to attempt to make thought connections of some sort, but will be utterly unable to. It was a weird sensation: Seeing something purely with the eyes, but not being able to note anything else about what I was seeing: My brain was missing.

What are the pills that people get from their doctors and overdose on? I'd better start stocking up now.

(I also had another thought: Geez, what if this is what the majority of people see when they watch stuff? Just with Eyes and not Brain --- no processing. A gliiiiiiide..... My brain-glitch felt like a "glide," a swift sled-swoop down a frozen hill. I suppose thought-processes would be the snagging on dirt-clods and bushes.)